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FAA Glossaries

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FAA Medicals—Duration

The FAA recently changed the duration of medicals for persons under 40 years of age. The duration of first-class medicals for pilots under 40 years is now 1 year instead of 6 months. The duration of third-class medicals is now 5 years instead of 3 years. The duration of second-class medicals did not change. It is more complicated now (hence the table), but the holder of a first or second class medical certificate may exercise privileges of a lower certificate if the time period of the primary certificate has expired. Like most other regulations that involve months, the time period is until the end of the month in which the was issued.

Under 40 years of age:

  • First class duration—12 months
  • Second class duration—12 months
  • Third class duration-60 months

Over 40 years of age:

  • First class duration—6 months
  • Second class duration—12 months
  • Third class duration-24 months

A person who obtains a first-class medical certificate may exercise privileges requiring that certificate until the end of the 6th or 12th month following the date of the certificate. They may exercise privileges requiring a second-class medical certificate until the end of the 12 month following the date of the certificate. They may exercise privileges requiring a third-class medical certificate (basic private pilot flying—not for hire) until the end of the 60th or 36th month following the date of the certificate.

There are exceptions to the general rule described above and they can be found in the table in 14 CFR §61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration..

Update: 2018-10-14 There are now additional classes of medical: Basic Med and Sport pilot that are available in place of Third Class for pilots flying certain aircraft.

14 CFR § 61.113(i) Restricts pilots flying under Basic Med to aircraft under 6,000 lbs., altitudes less than 18,000′, airspeed less than 250 kts, and aircraft certificated with 6 occupants or fewer. At the moment, Basic Med only applies to the US and the Bahamas. To fly under Basic Med you must also have a valid driver’s license. You must also have had a valid FAA medical at any time since July 14, 2006—including Special Issuances. As long as you do not develop any of the conditions listed in the training course, you are good to go.

SPort pilots do not require an FAA medical or any physical to fly Light Sport aircraft. As long as they have not had an FAA medical denies, they my use a valid driver’s license to fly light sport aircraft. There are limitations on passengers, aircraft weight, speed, and altitude as well. See §61.315 Privileges and Limits for details.

One Response to “FAA Medicals—Duration”

  1. Dave Dunwoodie Says:

    For over 40 years of age, which is it??? At the top of your page you state that (for a 3rd class)it is 3 years. Then at the bottom of the page you state that it is 2 years.

    Obviously, it can’t be both!

    Thanks!!!

    — You’re correct, they aren’t both right. The bottom is copied from the FAR and is correct. I corrected the top. I guess one of the reasons they want you to get a medical every two years after 40 is that your proof-reading skills decline as well.– JScarry

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